“I have pain between my shoulder blades…”

 

Stiffness between the shoulder blades is very common with the increasing use of computers and phones. Stiffness or pain in the upper back can lead to other issues in the neck, shoulders or low back. There are many reasons why this area of the spine can become painful such as joint or muscular irritation, increase in sedentary postures and accidents. 

Anatomy:

The mid back (thoracic spine) is made up of 12 vertebrae bones each are joined to one another through the facet joints, rib joints and discs. Facet joints can be a common contributor to mid back stiffness.  Movements such as twisting and arching backwards can become more difficult. The rib joints, (costovertebral joints) which are just to the side of the spine, can commonly be involved in mid back pain and stiffness. Pain will often increase with deep breath, coughing and laughing if the rib joint is the source of pain.

Our approach:

When we see people with mid back pain we assess the area thoroughly, to determine which structures may be contributing to your pain. We then explain the specifics of what we believe is the cause of your pain and then provide treatment which is aimed at reducing pain quickly, restoring movement and then strengthening surrounding areas to prevent future episodes of pain. 

Home Exercises:

During these difficult times in lockdown we have seen an increase in the number of mid back pain cases presenting to our clinic. We wanted to demonstrate a few common home exercises you can easily do to reduce stiffness, improve function and strengthen your spine. If you wish to discuss in further detail, we can arrange a telehealth consultation or if you are in an acute level of pain we can still provide face to face appointments.

Exercises for Mid Back Pain

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Help me maintain a healthy mid back:

  1. Move often – Engaging in regular physical activity is important in maintaining a healthy spine. A discussion with your health care provider should help you find exercises which benefit your back for the long term. 
  2. Have sufficient rest and sleep
  3. Practise good mental health 
  4. Maintain a healthy body weight
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